A bloodseeker, sometimes called a bloodbug or stirge, is a blood-drinking creature often hated in rural areas for draining herds of livestock.
Habitat and ecology
Bloodseekers nest in wetlands, near stagnant pools, and in abandoned buildings. A bloodseeker nest is typically a foot-wide mass of mud and twigs, and the creatures rarely hunt far from their nesting area.
Bloodseekers feed exclusively on blood and are especially drawn to large animals, such as livestock. While solitary bloodseekers are timid beings and will flee from attackers, they are social creatures and often live in large groups referred to as clots. Bloodseekers in a clot are often much bolder than solitary ones, and if a solitary bloodseeker finds a potential meal it will emit a high-pitched keening to attract the rest of the group.
Bloodseekers are often reviled by farming communities due to the damage their predations cause to livestock, although a folk aphorism says that the presence of bloodseekers is a sign of a healthy herd. However, some isolated settlements keep captive bloodseekers as pets and for dubious medical practices, such as drawing away bad humors or testing blood for poisoning. Worshippers of gods of disease and parasites often view bloodseekers as sacred creatures and freely allow them to drink their blood.
Some boggard tribes cultivate bloodseeker nests around the edges of their territories. In addition to using them as a deterrent against intruders, boggards also harvest the pelts and bones of animals killed by the bloodseekers and consume the bloodbugs themselves, which are eaten after being fed the blood of specific creatures and drained of their last meal to make an additional jellied dish.